Hello dear followers of LBE! You’ve made the past year writing this blog fantastic, motivating me to keep writing knowing I have people who actually read my work! I thank you all for keeping in touch now because it is Let’s Be Extraordinary’s ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY today!
It seems like fate was rooting for me to celebrate because today was supposed to be the first day of school, but from complications from hurricane Irene, we’ve already got a day off from school and it hasn’t even started yet! Anyway, in lieu of this special day, I’ve decided to give you the next installment of my short story series!! I’m kind of wary posting them now (I’ve continued quite a bit of them) because I see a bigger story (think: novel!) in them and want to pursue them as a whole story. So, only for occasions such as this, I shall share them. Enjoy, this one is called: The Story.
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“Was…was my life ever in danger?” I hesitate. I have so many questions, but I must time them correctly to get the answers in a fashion that makes sense. First and foremost comes my life.
I feel the air around us tighten, weaving us deeper and deeper into this mysterious conundrum. People are biting their lips and sniffling. A blanket of confusion lightly draped around us all together in a more meaningful way than blood – we’ll never see this afternoon, these people the same way again; something is about to unfold here – whether it’s a miracle or a catastrophe, we witnessed it together.
Mom looks at me as if she’s about to say something, but her words split her in half, weeping, so the Stranger steps in. “You had…” He sees right into my eyes, to my core of honest puzzlement, and stops. He bites back the answer and holds it on his tongue, tasting it. With a pained expression he shovels it out as fast and easily as he can, “You had no pulse.”
I gape. My eyes and mouth are O-shaped and I’m sure a gasp fled my lips. I hear a crowd-member whimper again – probably reminiscing on how I appeared lifeless.
The paramedics confirm the Stranger’s words, most likely thinking I didn’t trust him (which I thought of doing) with, “Yes, your heartbeat flat-lined for about five minutes.”
But…I had felt so alive! My senses were heightened to the extremes I could withstand while trapped in my Nightmare. Maybe that was it: the feelings were so supernatural that I should have known they weren’t real. And that definitely was not only five minutes.
“We thought– We thought you were a goner,” the Stranger says; he’s the “ever-comforting” voice in my ear.
I turn to my mother, washing away any thoughts about my being technically dead five minutes ago, and ask the next most important question: “What did I do before I ‘died’? What made me flat-line?” I can’t remember, so it must have been something serious.
“Pearl,” Mom only addresses me with my personal nickname when things are deep or heavy; it is an inside code between us and only us. “Pearl, you fell from that tree,” she points behind me to an enormous, elderly tree, “From that branch all the way up there. From your favorite tree.” She swipes a tear at “favorite”. It is my favorite tree, I can remember that. It has thick, crinkly bark prime for climbing, strong branches at heights most trees get skinny, healthy leaves for fantastic camouflage, and has lived through four generations of my family. I’ve never fallen out of that tree. I climb it every day in the summer, when I’m sad, when I’m happy, whenever I want. I absolutely love it.
My heart plummets through the ground, through the layers of dirt and rocks, falls into some underground stream, and goes flying away with the current. “Th-that couldn’t happen…that wouldn’t happen! I know that tree like the back of my hand! Did you see me? Did I slip? Did someone push me? Someone pushed me, right?” I wheeze. This isn’t making any sense.
Mom drags an inhale for a long moment, and begins to explain. “I saw it Pearl; and it wasn’t pretty. Not at all. It was time for you to come home and we couldn’t contact you and you didn’t come home – we guessed you forgot your watch or phone – and we all knew where you’d be: this tree. So I came here, yelling your name and you called ‘Be down in a minute!’ I saw your little white sneakers all the way up on that high branch, but I didn’t fret like I usually do – I’d seen you scale and descend this tree countless times and finally stopped worrying so much like you told me to do,” Mom pauses to swipe newly-sprung tears and regain composure. I rub her hand and tell her to go on – this is just as painful for me hearing this as it is for her to tell it.
“So I said, ‘You’re getting mighty good at this!’ You said, ‘Yeah, I guess! It’s been quite a few years that I’ve been doing this. I’m a pro.’ I smiled and watched your little white sneakers – that’s all I could see through the leaves. One, two, three branches you climbed down so fast and you stopped for what I thought was to catch your breath. Then–,” Mom’s eyes squint closed and I know she’s trying to be as strong as she can, but she was always a dainty woman, with my dad as her steel force to protect and guide her.
“It’s okay, Mom. Keep going,” I whisper softly, holding her hand now. The Stranger lays his guitar down tentatively on the grass and moves closer to my mom, and looks her straight in the eye – almost like my dad does – and she puts on a brave face. Just like that, he’s made her stronger, and they barely know each other. Who is this boy?
“Pearl, you just went flying from the tree…” I lose the rest of my insides to that underground stream now, too. “Now that I think of it, it did look like someone pushed you, but I knew no one was up there with you – you always have to help them out and you never go up that high with anyone else; you’re the only one brave enough to go that high. It looked like someone pushed you because you came away from the tree, not straight down through all the branches. Thank God they don’t mow the grass around here, it’s so thick and long – maybe that cushioned you a bit, but, my God, that was a long fall. I yelled while you were still in the air!
“I ran to you to catch you, but I wasn’t fast enough. You landed face-down in the tall grass with one single thud, no crack or anything gruesome – come to think of it, you weren’t even bleeding. I was screaming so loud and unintelligible that I couldn’t think. I yelled, ‘Help!’ too many times, even when people had assembled to help me, I kept on yelling. This fellow,” Mom gestures to a middle-aged man with his friendly golden Labrador, “Was walking by and dialed 911 as soon as he heard my yells. I didn’t have a phone. You weren’t moving, and I was rubbing you and yelling your name and you weren’t responding. That man, Gary – thank you, Gary,” she looks at him with such gratitude that could not be put into words and it makes him swipe away a tear. He nods nobly. “He checked your pulse, and he said he knew CPR from being a lifeguard, so I let him try it. He gave it a go, but you didn’t respond.
“By then, we had moved you from the tall grass and other people were running in from hearing my screams. Most of these people were comforting and calling 911 and some others had medical backgrounds and used the means they had to help you, but nothing was working. This boy here,” now she points to the Stranger, “Leonard, his parents are paramedics and he called them right away. They arrived in less than two minutes and did all these procedures for five minutes straight and you weren’t responding. I started to think it was my fault – that I startled you out of the tree, but Leonard was talking to me seriously, telling me I didn’t do anything, it was a freak accident, and his parents and their coworkers were doing the best they could while other ambulances and medical aids arrived.
“I sat down next to you and started talking to you, pleading you to wake up. Leonard pulled out his guitar and played a soft song – I couldn’t even hear it over my blubbering – and kept repeating it while the paramedics worked. Then, the paramedics said they had nothing left to do. They told Leonard to stop playing they had to take you to the hospital now. He refused, though; he saw something we didn’t. He was playing louder than I remembered and even hummed along. By then, his parents demanded that he move, but he sat there playing. Then, we saw it. Your eyelids fluttered. I didn’t believe it, but I started humming with him and soon everyone was joining in. Another eyelid fluttered, another finger twitched, and you finally opened your eyes. And while I was speechless, Leonard asked ‘How are you?’ and I knew you were okay when you answered in your usually snappy self, ‘Do I know you?’ Then you said ‘Mom’ and I melted.”
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Happy LBE Anniversary everyone! ;)